A Norwegian Farmer Just Discovered A 1,100-Year-Old Viking Sword In His Field

Published June 3, 2024
Updated June 4, 2024

The weapon dates to between 900 and 1050 C.E. and may be one of the famed Ulfberht swords.

Norway Farm Viking Sword

Rogaland County MunicipalityNorwegian farmer Øyvind Tveitane Lovra holding the Viking sword.

A farmer in Suldal, Norway, just unearthed a Viking sword in one of his fields. Originally thinking it was a scrap of metal from old farm equipment, he was prepared to throw it away when he noticed it had a blade and a handle.

After the farmer handed it over to the Archaeological Museum of the University of Stavanger, researchers confirmed that the discovery was a rare Viking sword crafted between 900 and 1050 C.E.

Now, archaeologists are hoping to determine how it ended up in the field in the first place.

Discovering The Viking Sword On A Farm

On May 27, 2024, Øyvind Tveitane Lovra and his son were cleaning up a field on their farm in Suldal, Norway, to prepare it for plowing when Lovra picked up a piece of metal. He originally assumed it was a piece of farm equipment, and he was preparing to toss it when he noticed it had a hilt.

Lovra immediately contacted the Rogaland County Council about the discovery.

“I quickly realized that this wasn’t an everyday find. For me, it was a given that I should turn it in. It’s about our history, and it’s nice to learn about what has been here before,” Lovra stated, according to a press release from the Archaeological Museum of the University of Stavanger.

The county sent two archaeologists, Lars Søgaard Sørensen and Kim Thunheim, to inspect and retrieve the sword. They used metal detectors on the property to see if there were more historic relics beneath the soil, but they did not find anything else. Then, Sørensen and Thunheim sent the weapon to the Archaeological Museum of the University of Stavanger for testing.

Astoundingly, the museum confirmed that the artifact could be a famed Ulfberht sword, a find that has never been made in Rogaland before.

Where Did The Viking Sword Come From?

According to the museum, the sword measured 15 inches long and would have been twice that size when it was originally forged. X-rays revealed that the thick layer of clay the artifact was buried beneath preserved its handle and blade exceptionally well for a millennium.

Viking Sword Examination

Øyvind Nesvåg/Rogaland County MunicipalityResearchers examine the Viking sword.

However, the most incredible finding was the inscription on the blade that may have once read “VLFBERHT,” a type of high-quality and expensive Frankish sword.

“Material analyses of those weapons show that they were not only made from the best raw materials available in Europe and beyond, but that the smiths were also at the very highest technical level. These were high-tech weapons,” Sigmund Oehrl, a professor of archaeology at the University of Stavanger, told All That’s Interesting in an email.

“When we first saw the sword, we were happy because it’s not often we get Viking Age swords. When we saw the X-ray image, we were really excited. We didn’t expect there to be an inscription on the blade,” Professor Oehrl of the University of Stavanger stated in the press release.

Ulfberht swords were status symbols among Vikings. So far, archaeologists have unearthed more than 170 of these weapons, mainly from burials across Europe. They have found 45 of them in Norway, but this is the first one ever unearthed in Rogaland. This discovery comes after several similar finds in Europe, such as the Viking sword pulled from the River Cherwell in November 2023 and another discovered in the grave of a Viking warrior in Setesdal, Norway.

“This is very rare,” said Sørensen. “The sword was the greatest status symbol in the Viking Age, and it was a privilege to be allowed to carry a sword. It is not often that we, as archaeologists, get to experience something like this.”

After reading about the Viking sword found on a Norwegian farm, dive into the story of Viking Berserkers, the brutal Norse warriors who fought as if they were in a trance. Then, learn about Erik the Red, the Viking who settled Greenland.

Amber Morgan
Amber Morgan is an Editorial Fellow for All That's Interesting. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in political science, history, and Russian. Previously, she worked as a content creator for America House Kyiv, a Ukrainian organization focused on inspiring and engaging youth through cultural exchanges.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Morgan, Amber. "A Norwegian Farmer Just Discovered A 1,100-Year-Old Viking Sword In His Field." AllThatsInteresting.com, June 3, 2024, https://allthatsinteresting.com/norway-farm-viking-sword. Accessed June 22, 2024.